Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Eve

We decided to stay put this year for Christmas. While we missed being with extended family it was definitely a nice change of pace. We loved being together as our own family, keeping things relaxed and staying healthy (well, for the most part!).
Christmas Eve, our friends, the Groesbecks, invited us to join them for a late lunch. It was delicious, our children loved all of the attention from their kids and we enjoyed a nice visit with Carol and Ben. I've road biked with Carol and Ben and Bryan both work with the young men at church. They are a fun family to be around. It was a pleasant afternoon and we were still able to enjoy Christmas Eve night with just our family. Bryan and I are still trying to decide what we would like as traditions in our family. Christmas Eve we watched/read the Nativity from the book of Luke, let each kid open one present containing new pajamas and a treat to enjoy while watching a movie/playing games.

Emma loved her soft pajamas. She is quite the girly girl. I love it.

Luke bypassed his pajamas and was most thrilled with his very own "soda root beer." Luke is all boy. I love it.

Emma loved playing hide-and-go-seek. This was her best hiding spot. 

Bryan used our "Whirley Pop" to make yummy gourmet popcorn. We enjoyed a fun night together. Then it was off to bed...Santa Claus was coming to town! :)

 Emma and Luke made Christmas feel so magical this night. It was fun to think about what the next day would bring. 

I read the following and deleted it, but decided to paste it back because if I don't write it here, I'm not sure that I will write it anywhere and I want to remember these feelings:

When I was thinking about how much fun I had with our family I couldn't help but think how much my life has changed (for the better!) from just a few years ago. I can't believe how much love a child brings into the home. I know that there are plenty of hard days, but there are many sweet moments that touch my heart in no other way. I thought about the baby that Mary was bringing into the world. I cannot imagine what she was feeling that night. I truly believe a Savior was born into this world for us. It was a tender thought to think about the love that baby brought, not only to His home, but to the world.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sugar Cookies

We joined our friends, the Sorensons, the make Chrsitmas sugar cookies. It was a fun evening. The kids loved every second. I felt sick to my stomach thinking about any sugar cookies that I previously ate that came from kids. Do you know how many times they lick their fingers, cookies, sprinkles, etc???

Happy, Happy Birthday!

Bryan turned a whopping 34-years-old this year. Jared took him to a movie and then we headed out for some dinner. He requested his mother's carrot cake and I did my best. It definitely wasn't the same as when she makes it, but I made up for it by having the cake 70% cream cheese frosting.

Luke made sure the frosting tasted decent.

Each of the kids took a turn blowing out the candles.

I made a pocket-size fly organizer from an altoids tin for my outdoorsman. He also received a fancy shmancy hand warmer. Oh, the exciting gifts! :)

Happy Birthday to a loving husband and tender father!

It Always Fun When Visitors Come

The Lees made a last-minute trip out for a visit. They were delayed a day, but still made it in time for Mandi to join me at Bunco-the whole reason for the trip. Okay, not really, but we enjoyed a laid-back and relaxing visit with them! 

Ventured out to the library for crafts and story time. Afterwards he hit up Chic-Fil-A. The kids had a great time playing and catching all sorts of germs. :)

We took Luke and Johanna to see Frozen. This was Luke's first time going to the movie theater. He loved the experience. There were several parts of the movie that scared him, but secretly I liked it since he would snuggle up with me.

We made it to the outlets, they watched the kids so Bryan and I could enjoy a birthday dinner for Bryan, played lots of games, stayed up too late and loved every minute!

They also came bearing gifts. My favorite bread, a "pig popper" for  Luke and a mini-diaper bag filled with cloth doll diapers and bottle for Emma. They hit a home-run with each of these gifts. Great to see you guys!

Zoo Day

We can't get enough of the zoo and when we have a warm spell in December, we jump at the chance to be outside! We had the zoo to ourselves, it was a blast. I could let the kids run and roam and not still have a visual on both of them! The animals were all out and up close. It was a terrific morning.

Okay, so I lied. We didn't have to zoo completely to ourselves. There was one other kid on the carousel.

Luke pointing out the ginormous fish. Can you imagine if you were swimming and you felt this brush up against your legs?

Mr. Komodo dragon. Luke (and me!) was glad there was glass separating us. He seemed a little too friendly.

Ode to Lion King and 'Pride Rock'.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Grandma Utah!

The kids and I flew out to Utah to spend several fun-filled days with family and friends. We timed the trip so we could celebrate "Grandma Utah's," as Luke calls my mom, birthday with her.

We flew in Thursday. Luke did a great job going through security. His favorite parts of the airport were the escalators and riding the train.

Looking out the train's window on our way to the terminal. 

Our flight was delayed so we killed time by eating chicken nuggets and french fries. It worked out perfect, I didn't realize how hungry the kids were!

Emma was a very busy traveler, as proof in the blurry picture. :) She was happy and quite social with the other passengers. My biggest challenge was keeping her from "helping" Luke with whatever he was doing at the moment.

Luke was a good traveler and very low maintenance. Upon seeing Grandma at the airport, Luke proudly announced, "Hi Grandma! I'm baaaaack!" How I wished I had that on video. 

Within 2 minutes after arriving at my parents' home, Luke was requesting the train. Luke has talked and talked and talked about this train since our last visit. My dad took Luke right downstairs and set it up with him. Luke was in heaven.


 I headed to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert that same night with my parents and Bryan's brother, Rick. I tried unsuccessfully to obtain tickets for the concert and a week before I was flying out Rick called and asked if I would want to use the tickets. Uhhh...YES! This makes 2 years in a row that he's given us great tickets.  Thanks to Tom and Staci for watching Luke and Emma that night. It was easy to feel more in the true Christmas spirit after this concert.

Friday we ran a few errands in the morning and visited Grandma Munns. Such a blessing to be able to visit with her. (I forgot the camera on this visit, so I snapped this picture on Sunday. Luke managing to pull off another super natural smile. :)

Friday night I drove down to Salt Lake City with the kids to meet up with Darci and her family. She was staying in a hotel in Salt Lake with her fam so it worked out great.

Temple square lights. Poor Emma, she couldn't move her arms (or legs). Needless to say, she was warm.

Love this Darci girl!

Luke and Randli are only a few months apart. They had a great time playing together that night.

After the seeing the lights and some dinner we headed to the hotel's pool to top off the night with some swimming.

It was such a fun night that I didn't end up leaving until way after the kids' bedtimes! Love being able to catch up with great friends. 

Saturday was "Grandma Utah's" birthday and it was action-packed! Lots of aunts, uncles and cousins came to make the traditional Graham cracker houses.

I helped Luke make a sled to accompany his graham cracker house. He made sure that there was a 2nd bear (Charlie) that rode the sled with him, "like at Thanksgiving".

Sunday we went to church. Luke went up with the primary kids to "sing" a song. I was shocked. After, we had a nice family dinner and played some games.

This game is hilarious and great for a lot of ages.

Monday I  met up with Mindi for a lunch date at Zupas. I'm still thinking I should open one of those restaurants in Castle Rock. YUM! That night we went to see the Christmas Villages and lights at Willard Bay. 

Luke helped Grandpa navigate through the lights. 

Luke's favorite was the sled carrying the 3 blind mice that crashed (no pic). He loved those action lights, as in, he was belly laughing.

We flew out Tuesday morning. We had such a great time. Here a few outtakes of the trip.

Emma felt like she was queen in this red chair.

Playing telephone with Uncle Dave.

I went out for yogurt one night with a friend. Uh, 'Cheddar Vegetable' yogurt? No thanks.

One of my favorite treats. My dad makes buttered, butter and extra salt popcorn. My fingers feel slippery just typing this. 

Until the next trip...